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Friday Favorite: Cast Iron

December 31st, 2010

It’s no secret that I love cast iron, you’ve probably noticed that it crops up in many of my cooking photos. I use old Griswold cast iron skillet more than any other piece of cookware I own. I cook anything and everything in it!

I also have cast iron bread pans and a cast iron pizza pan that gets used as a skillet on the stove top and as a cookie sheet in the oven, along with a collection of smaller skillets and one very small dutch oven.

One of the reasons I love cast iron is that it’s durable, it will last you the rest of your life and you can pass it on to future generations. The skillet you see below, was left by the old man my parents bought they’re first home off of. It’s a Griswold and is at least twice as old as I am.

Cast iron cookware also cooks like a dream. If you keep the skillet properly seasoned you just can’t beat the way it cooks an egg, mushrooms, or a steak. It’s also a healthy option for cooking, because it’s not adding weird chemicals into your food like non-stick and another kinds of cookware does. You want to make sure you buy vintage cast iron or cookware that’s made by a reputable company if you’re buying new otherwise you may not be getting great quality.

The newest additions to my cast iron collection are a few Staub enameled dutch ovens Staub enameled dutch ovens Mr Chiots got me for Christmas. I must admit, they’re as great as I expected. I think they’ll quickly make my stainless steel pots jealous.

Are you a cast iron cookware lover?

My Winter Garden in Late December

December 30th, 2010

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and relatively warm (around 30). After Mr Chiots and I took the dog on a walk, I decided to head out and uncover the low tunnels to see how everything was doing.

Our temperatures have been much colder than usual here, so I figured things wouldn’t be doing as well as they should be. Usually our temperatures in December are in the 30’s. This December our temperatures have been in the 20’s and the teens. The days have also been very cloudy, which doesn’t help warm up the low tunnels.

I have 2 different varieties of spinach growing in my low tunnel ‘Catalina’ and ‘Giant Winter’. So far they both seem to be doing well, I think the ‘Catalina’ might be doing slightly better. We’ll see which variety starts producing faster when it warms in the spring.

A few things were slightly frosty, but the good thing is that the new growth is still doing well. This means that I’ll be able to harvest very early next spring once the weather warms regularly.

Winter gardening definitely has a learning curve, and the weather greatly affects what the outcome will be. I think if our December was “normal”, I’d be harvesting spinach and arugula right now. With each year I’ll gain knowledge and figure out the planting schedule for my particular climate. I should be doing pretty well in a few years!

How’s your garden growing?

Winter Activities

December 29th, 2010

One of the reasons I enjoy gardening is because it’s great exercise. The bad thing is that you can’t do it in the winter so you have to find something else to do. I enjoy doing yoga several times a week, we also enjoy going on walks. Yesterday however, we went bowling and ice skating, both wonderful winter activities.

We went with some friends and had a great time. It’s always great to get out in the winter and do something, especially when you live in a rural area like we do and don’t have things like this nearby!

Have you done anything fun lately?

The Christmas Flower

December 28th, 2010

For as long as I can remember my mom has always received amaryllis bulbs for Christmas from my dad. She saves the bulbs from year to year and has a ton of blooms in her house throughout the year. She knows exactly what to do to get them to bloom year after year. This past year she even saved seeds and started a few I think it takes them a few years to bloom though. When I was over for Christmas on Sunday I snapped a few photos of the double one that’s blooming right now.

I have never grown an amaryllis, my mom keeps offering to give me a bulb. I’ll have to take her up on it and add one to my indoor garden, which could use a bit of color this time of year. I’d also love to add an African Violet or two, they were one of my grandma’s (my dad’s mom) most favorite plants. She always had a few of them growing on her windowsill. My mom also used to always have gloxinia’s blooming in the house throughout the winter, some day I’ll add one of those to my indoor garden also. I will never add paperwhites, Easter lilies or hyacinths because I cannot stand the smell they put off.

Do you have memories of indoor plants & flowers from your childhood?


December 27th, 2010

Even though we had a relaxing day on Christmas day, we had a family get together my family yesterday. It was a busy day for everyone, even the reindeer chiots. I didn’t have any energy left to write a meaningful blog post so here are a few photos of Lucy the Chiots enjoying the family Christmas.

Hopefully you all rest up this week for the New Year’s weekend ahead!

How many family Christmas events did you end up going to?


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.